On September 27, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced charges against six officers, directors, and major shareholders of public companies (“insiders”) for failing to timely report and file disclosures related to (i) their holdings in public company stock and (ii) transactions they undertook involving public company stock. Five public companies were also charged in connection with timely reporting failures by their insiders. Without admitting or denying the charges, the six insiders and five public companies agreed to cease and desist from violating the charged provisions and agreed to pay civil penalties ranging from $66,000 to $200,000.Continue Reading SEC Announces Charges Against Insiders for Reporting Failures and Adopts Amendments to Schedule 13D and 13G Report Filing Timelines
Richard A. Friedman is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm's New York office and a member of the Blockchain Technology and Digital Assets team.
Yesterday, each of Nasdaq, FINRA and NYSE released Regulatory Alerts highlighting concerns surrounding fraudulent activities in Small-Cap IPOs. Each of these alerts raises similar issues, highlights the importance of the Underwriter in the process, and stresses the obligations that Underwriters have as Gatekeepers in the IPO Process. Below is a link to each of these Alerts and some relevant excerpts from them.Continue Reading Nasdaq, FINRA and NYSE Issue Warnings of Small-Cap IPO Fraud
On June 16, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted (215-214) to pass the ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] Disclosure Simplification Act of 2021 (H. R. 1187) (the “Bill”).…
Continue Reading House Passes Bill Requiring SEC to Define Mandatory ESG Metrics
On March 4, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the formation of a Climate and ESG Task Force in the Division of Enforcement (the “Task Force”). The Task Force will be aimed at detecting ESG-related misconduct so that investors can fully consider these issues in their investment decisions.
Continue Reading SEC Going Cyber-Hunting for ESG-Related Misconduct
On November 2, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments intended to ease the rules for certain exempt offerings. These changes include increasing the annual cap on equity crowdfunding from $1.07 million to $5 million, raising the annual cap on Reg A+ offerings from $50% million to $75 million, raising the maximum offering amount for Rule 504 of Regulation D from $5 million to $10 million, and expanding the “test-the-waters” accommodation to Regulation Crowdfunding issuers.
Continue Reading SEC Adopts Rule Amendments Aimed at Expanding Access to Capital
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq) both took action this month to provide issuers with much needed relief in response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect that these measures will provide needed flexibility to many issuers, especially smaller reporting companies who have recently experienced significant stock price volatility and are in need of capital.
Continue Reading Exchange Relief: NYSE Provides Partial Waiver for Shareholder Approval of PIPE Transactions; Nasdaq Provides Relief Regarding Continued Listing Requirements
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has impacted publicly traded companies that provide information to trading markets, shareholders and to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Companies need to be mindful with respect to disclosures in annual and quarterly reports, earnings releases, current reports, and public and private securities offering documents.
Continue Reading Coronavirus and Guidance on SEC Disclosures
On March 12, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted amendments to the definition of “accelerated filer” and “large accelerated filer” definitions in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2, which amendments will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and will apply to annual report filings due on or after such effective date.
Continue Reading SEC Amends Definitions of “Accelerated Filer” and “Large Accelerated Filer” and Provides Relief to Small Issuers from Auditor Attestation Requirements
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced on September 26, 2019 that it voted to adopt the application of “testing-the-waters” rules to all issuers who engage in raising capital in the public markets. This represents a significant expansion of that accommodation, as those rules were previously only available to certain issuers classified as emerging growth companies or “EGCs.” The new Rule 163B will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Continue Reading Gauging Interest: SEC Votes to Approve Proposal to Expand “Test-the-Waters” Rules
On December 19, 2018, the SEC announced that it had adopted final rules that allow reporting companies to rely on the Regulation A exemption from registration for their securities offerings.
Until recently, the only way that companies subject to the reporting requirements of Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) have been able to access the capital markets has been through a private placement in public equity (PIPE) or a traditional registered public offering. PIPE’s have presented a number of issues regarding confidentiality, illiquidity of securities, limitations on offering size and greater pricing discounts, whereas registered public offerings can be both time-consuming and costly. These issues are particularly magnified for smaller public companies that may not be eligible to use S-3 shelf registrations.
Continue Reading Expansion of Regulation A to Reporting Companies: Increased Alternatives Now Available to Public Companies Seeking to Raise Capital or for Mergers and Acquisitions
Although EDGAR continues to accept filings, the government shutdown has now eclipsed its 28th day and the SEC continues to operate with limited staff which is having a crippling effect on the ability of many companies to raise money in the public markets. This is particularly due to the fact that the SEC is unable to perform many of the critical functions during the lapse in appropriations, including the review of new or pending registration statements and/or the declaration of effectiveness of any registration statements.
Continue Reading The Effects of the SEC Shutdown on the Capital Markets